These are our top experiences during our stay in Porto that we loved (print my map and let’s discover Porto together!)
- São Bento train station: there’s always something magical about train stations but in all honesty, São Bento exceeded all our expectations. Their walls hold around 20,000 azulejos (blue tiles) with Portugal’s history. This is a breathtaking experience!
- Bolsa Palace: Porto’s past and present money merchants home is where the exchange of Portugal once operated. The highlight of this place? Go upstairs and check the Salão Arabe, and Arabian Hall with the most beautiful 18kg gold doors you’ll see in the city.
- Livraria Lello: Opened in 1906, this place has been named as the busiest libraries and most stunning in the world. Fans of Harry Potter? This place it’s rumored to have inspired J.K. Rowling when she was living in Porto back in the 90’s. Tip: You need to get a ticket to enter in their gift shop next door. If you are traveling with kids, there’s a priority line in the front cash.
- Igreja do Carmo: this is one of the biggest churches in the city (along with the Igreja do Carmelitas) and it has a stunning wall of blue tiles people usually stop and stare for a while. Both churches are one next to each other, separated by one of the narrowest houses in the world.
- Clerigos Tower: We decided not to climb the tower because our little ones were napping when we got there, but if you’re not claustrophobic you’ll see the best views of Porto from here.
- Cais de Gaia: The views from here are simply, to die for (my first picture was taken from this spot). You can also enjoy a riverfront restaurant and a Porto wine, so win-win!
- Old Foz: This was one of our favorite areas of Porto! Foz Velha (Old Foz) is the posh side of the city, almost like Ribeira but with a charm, I didn’t see before. Here is where you’ll find all the dreamy tile houses, the Pinterest-worthy laundry facades, and swoon-worthy lemon trees in the backyards, like a Wes Anderson movie.
- Matosinhos Beach: a short ride from downtown Porto, you’ll find Matosinhos, the city center of fresh seafood and best fish restaurants. Things you can’t miss here: the largest sandy beach in the Porto area, Echelman suspended public sculpture and their popular market.
- Ribeira District: The most photogenic side of Porto and the oldest neighborhood, Ribeira’s historic area is a pleasure to see. You can take a boat trip on the Douro river and have the best Portuguese food in a picturesque tiled building. You’ll LOVE it.
- Best views of the city: From the Clerigos tower, The Porto Cathedral (that is a must to see)and the Dom Luis I bridge.
- Tram 1: On our way back from Old Foz, we jumped into the famous Tram 1, that covers a wonderful route from Foz to Ribeira. The best part? You’ll be traveling in an original 1930 tram (imagine Nico and Oli’s reaction!), and it isn’t crazy crowded as I thought I’d be. A single ride is 3 euros and kids ride for free.
- Porto Cathedral: built in the highest point of the city, this building is a must see with incredible views of the Ribeira district.